Sports Authority is planning on launching a new smaller concept, S.A. Elite, focusing on higher-end footwear and apparel. The first location will open in Denver in August to serve as a model for future stores. The size of concept will range from 12,000 to 15,000 square feet. Sports Authority's typical store is about 42,000 square feet. 

“S.A. Elite's brand and small store format was the brainchild of extensive consumer research and customer insight including advanced basket analysis, ethnography, and other innovative primary research techniques,” said Jeff Schumacher, executive vice president, CMO and CSO of Sports Authority, in a statement. “The S.A. Elite brand has tested well with consumers who believe it conveys the elevated product assortment and experience, while still representing the great value Sports Authority is known for.”

Sports Authority said “S.A Elite” is designed to connote an association to Sports Authority as well as the concept's unique and exclusive assortment of high-end performance apparel, footwear, and accessories from premier brands such as Nike, Under Armour, Adidas, North Face, Spyder, Columbia, Asics and New Balance.

“S.A. Elite's stores will be approximately 12-15 thousand square feet and will provide an outstanding customer shopping experience,” said Greg Waters, executive vice president and COO. “The stores will also include high-end elevated lighting fixtures, state-of-the-art custom brand shops, large format graphics, and highly knowledgeable store associates.”

Cherry Creek Shopping Center in Denver already
lists S.A. Elite by Sports Authority under its “Coming Soon” section.
The Elite concept won't replace any full-line stores.

“We are extremely excited to see this small store concept materialize after years of planning,” said David Campisi, president and CEO. “We have seen the Sports Authority brand grow and evolve in many provocative directions over the past year and S.A. Elite only adds to this very positive momentum.”

The Sports Authority operates 462 stores in 45 states, and employs more than 15,000 associates nationwide. It also operates stores in Japan under a partnership with AEON Co., Ltd.